Last Minute Holiday Cleaning Strategies

I will not be hosting Thanksgiving at my house tomorrow but I am no stranger to that feeling of dread that hits you in the final stretch before a holiday.  That overwhelming feeling of panic that strikes exactly at the time that you need to be calm and pulled together.  Even though you have known for weeks that people are going to be gathered around the table in your home because you invited them to be there, somehow it's not real until the very last minute.  And then in the midst of running around and preparing for the holiday you stop, look around and realize that your house is a freakin' nightmare.

last minute, holiday, guests, clean, organize

Stop freaking out.  Go make yourself a cup of coffee (save the wine for a little later) and read my tips for getting your house into some kind of presentable state fit for company.

Tip No. 1: Break up the cleaning into chunks.
Start with the kitchen (because cooking) then move on to the dining room (because eating) and THEN do the living room.

Tip No. 2: Prioritize
Do you really need to have a spotless living room?  Probably not.  Just make it comfortable.  Everyone will be stuffed with turkey and napping if they even make it in there.  Nobody will notice the dust.  Also, do you need to clean the bedroom?  Is this the time to reorganize your closets?  NOOOOOOO!  Cut it out.  Just shut the door.  Actually you might want to stick some junk you just picked up from the living room in there and THEN shut the door. ;)

clean, organize, dining room, table, mess

Tip No. 3: Stay alert
Drink water.  Take breaks to put your feet up.  Put on some peppy music.  Eat a snack.  If you pass out, then not only will your house be a mess when your family arrives but you will be laying on the floor in a puddle of your own drool.  Not.  Pretty.

Tip No. 4: Vacuum last
Vacuuming is kind of satisfying.  You'll also probably kick up a bunch of dust while you run around stuffing things into closets so you'll want to wait until the end to get it all.

Tip No. 5: To the internet!!
These are my favorite home organizing/cleaning resources:

I stumbled upon the Fly Lady about 3 years ago and my life has forever been changed for the better.  She can tell you how to crisis clean, how to build routines into your house so that it stays clean, what to cook for dinner, how to get through Christmas or moving house without losing your mind...seriously, she's the best.

This is a YouTube channel that I recently discovered.  It has tons of videos about cleaning.  Some notable topics are vacuuming tips, wood furniture cleaning, and 19 uses for a lint roller.

This one might be better left until all of the guests leave and you are trying to figure out what to do with all of the junk you stuffed into the closets so that you never have to crisis clean again.  It's another YouTube channel with organization videos.  I actually just reorganized my filing cabinet based on the system that Alejandra uses and it's made dealing with mail so much easier.

cat toys, mess, clean, organize

Tip No. 6: Move on
I don't mean move (although, I suppose it is a valid choice...just give up and start over.  Juuuust kidding!!)  But at some point you need to stop cleaning, go to bed, and get up and get that turkey in the oven.  Pour yourself a glass of wine, take a bath or watch a movie.  If you are cooking the bird then you'll be up super early tomorrow and I tip my hat to you, Champion.

p.s. This obviously applies to any time you need to clean and not just Thanksgiving.  If you seriously are reading this the day before Thanksgiving and your house isn't clean, please don't feel any judgement.  There is NO judgement!  It's OK!  Just do your best and if anyone complains then take a giant bite of a drumstick and with your mouth full, thank them for volunteering to host next year.  :)  hehehe


  1. I looooooove Alejandra ! Sometimes when I'm lazy and I don't want to do anything I watch some of her videos and she makes me feel more productive ! I wish I could hire her for a week to get my entire house in order ! :)

    1. Ha ha ha! I do the same thing!!! :) Yeah, if I was made out of money.....